A Simple Conversation


I came across a neighbour who was working in his shop. His real name was Herbert, but we all just called him Pop. He has gotten hard of hearing, which can happen growing old. I guess the roar of table saws and planers took their toll.

One afternoon last winter, I was on an ambulation As I strolled in through his shop door, I heard a conversation. I could see no one was with him, just his coat hung on the shelf. But, I knew, because I knew him, he was talking to himself.

“Should I cut this off exactly at three-fourths of an inch? Or nine-sixteenths for safety’s sake, cause it’s sure lead pipe cinch. It’ll be too short to fit right if I’m off a saw blade width, but I know how long the space is ‘cause I measured it, I didth!

Hey, it’s better safe than sorry, measure twice, cut once I say. If I have to saw it over, there’s no sweat. I’ve got all day. But why bother workin’ extra if I know I’m right to start. That’s the point of carpentering, not about me lookin’ smart.

It’s a chicken house for gosh sakes, it’s not the Taj Mahal. But I pride myself on good work, be it Bunyanesque or small. I’m gonna make the cut three-quarters. It’s just a simple truss And it really doesn’t matter, ain’t nobody here but us!”

Baxter Black is a cowboy, poet, humorist, and former large animal veterinarian based in

Benson, Arizona –www.baxterblack.com



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